Tigers 3B Miguel Cabrera made his return to the game and didn't miss a beat. Cabrera hit two doubles his first two at bats, it led to two of the RBIs given by Matusz. Here are some notes on today's game:
o Matusz was working himself into trouble early on getting behind in hits, giving up two strike hits and driving up his pitch count with a lot of high fastballs the Tigers hitters were able to foul off. With a low 90s fastball, a mix of pitches is essential for Matusz. Once he got in his groove, he was able to work through the strong Tigers lineup.
o In the bottom of the second, the Os started to work young LHP Duane Below who issued three straight walks after his first out.
o Following the third walk, RF Jai Miller popped up above C Gerald Laird the out was made, but there was a collision with 1B Don Kelly to get the ball and Laird went down. Laird limped off the field with a sprained knee.
o Then the Os took advantage, another walk issued to 2B Robert Andino put the Orioles on the board. Nolan Reimold would follow up with the last out, but the Os did well to recognize Below's control issues.
o It's especially nice when the reigning strikeout champ 3B Mark Reynolds lead the series of walks. Even though he struck out later in the game, it's still important to see some patience from Reynolds. He will always be a high strikeout high power player. Mark Reynolds sloppy defense 2 errors in the first two innings.
o CF Adam Jones came back the next inning to shorten the gap in the third with a solo shot off a 1-1 count to left field. He leads the team in RBIs and home runs this spring with four and twelve respectively. That left field has been kind to Adam Jones and lucky for him the left field deck has the same distance to the plate as at home in Baltimore, so the same homers would have cleared the wall at Camden.
o RHP Pat Neshek continued his perfect spring by getting two outs in the sixth. Os would be hard pressed not to break with Neshek to start the season as he has done nothing to hurt his case only allowing three hits and no runs over nine innings and ten appearances.
o RHP Luis Ayala was credited with the blown save after giving up the tying run in the seventh after pinch hitter Tony Plagman hit a homer deep. Ayala had been solid his previous three hitless outings, and the homerun was the only hit he surrendered today.
o LF Endy Chavez had a positive return as well today after being out with a groin injury. He knocked a pair of hits for and a walk with one RBI.
o RHP Jim Johnson gave up the final runs in the ninth, and was credited with a loss. He's been shaky at times this spring, but was one of the Os best pitchers out the pen last year posting a 2.67 ERA over 91 innings with 58 strikeouts